Working with R at the New York Times

Posted to Visualization  |  Tags: , , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Amanda Cox from the New York Times was on the Data Stories podcast. You should listen. She talks about how she uses R, workflow at the New York Times, and some of her favorite projects.

I listened while picking up my son from daycare. I hope some of it seeps into his consciousness through osmosis.

One note. In the beginning Amanda talks a little bit about how she got started. She was a statistics graduate student getting tired of the theory side of things. Her program didn’t look at a ton of data in the first year, which led her to the New York Times, a placed aimed at practicality.

However, no surprise, it varies a lot by program. For example, the UCLA and Berkeley statistics departments get you looking at data early on. I haven’t taken a course in years and am far removed from academics, but I only imagine it’s more true with the whole data science field evolving into a real thing.

Favorites

A Day in the Life of Americans

I wanted to see how daily patterns emerge at the individual level and how a person’s entire day plays out. So I simulated 1,000 of them.

Life expectancy changes

The data goes back to 1960 and up to the most current estimates for 2009. Each line represents a country.

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.